NYT/CBS Polls: Republicans Have 'Inside Track' to Senate Majority, But...

Posted: Oct 07, 2014 10:27 AM
NYT/CBS Polls: Republicans Have 'Inside Track' to Senate Majority, But...

A new batch of polling from the New York Times, CBS News and YouGov contains some encouraging news for the GOP -- although the tug-of-war over control of the US Senate remains fluid and very close. From the Times' write-up:

The fight for control of the Senate is stable and tight, with Republicans maintaining the inside track to a majority in the latest round of data from the New York Times/CBS News/YouGov online panel of more than 100,000 respondents. The Republicans lead by at least four percentage points in enough races to finish with 50 seats — just one short of the 51 seats they need to overcome Joe Biden’s tiebreaking vote and take the Senate. The Republicans’ likely gains include six seats currently held by the Democrats: in South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska.

"Hold your horses," you may be muttering to yourself, "wouldn't those six wins give the GOP the seats they need to take over the upper chamber?"  They would...if the race in Kansas wasn't presenting major headaches for incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.  In the event that Democrats' proxy candidate (they got their own elected candidate tossed off the ballot) wins in the heartland, the GOP's path to netting six Democrat-held seats becomes significantly more difficult.  A new Marist/NBC News poll has Roberts down ten points, while the NYT/CBS/YouGov survey shows an exact tie.  Be sure to check out this latest nonsense from "Independent" Greg Orman.  Some other results from contests for Democrat-held seats from the big new data wave (including leaners):

Montana: Rep. Steve Daines (R) leads Amanda Curtis (D) by 21 points (55/34).

South Dakota: Mike Rounds (R) leads Rick Weiland (D) by 15 points (42/27).

West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) leads Natalie Tennant (D) by 23 points (56/33).

Alaska: Dan Sullivan (R) leads Sen. Mark Begich (D) by six points (48/42).

Arkansas: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) leads Sen. Mark Pryor (D) by four points (45/41). 

Louisiana: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) leads Sen. Mary Landrieu by six points (47/41) in a run-off scenario.

These numbers also show Republican-held seats in Georgia (Perdue +4) and Kentucky (McConnell +6) remaining in GOP hands.  McConnell's lead in Kentucky falls in line with most other polling of the race, although two other recent polls showed Grimes ahead by a whisker.  All else being equal, if Republicans want to demote Harry Reid, they'll need to find one more piece to this puzzle.  To that end, the NYT/CBS/YouGov figures reveal a handful of statistical ties: North Carolina (Hagan +1), Iowa (Braley +1), Colorado (Udall +3) and, again, Kansas (tie).  Two other new polls in the Iowa contest show an exact tie, and Ernst up by two.  A fresh poll from a Democratic pollster shows Colorado all tied up at 45 apiece.  In terms of the national political environment, multiple signs point to a Republican advantage, with the Washington Post noting the "striking" similarities between the 2006 and 2014 cycles.  We explored those parallels here.  Over on the House side, Democrats are actively engaged in triage:

House Democrats, facing strong political headwinds, are shifting millions of dollars of TV advertising away from 2014 challengers in order to prop up some of their most vulnerable incumbents. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is scaling back on planned commercial airtime in 11 Republican-held districts, the group said Monday. Those resources will be used to help four Democratic lawmakers facing treacherous reelection campaigns and two other candidates in districts that Democrats are trying to win from Republicans. The spending decisions come four weeks before a midterm election that is proving perilous to Democrats, who are 17 seats deep into the House minority and are almost certain to see their delegation shrink further. Many Democratic strategists privately concede they are likely to lose about six seats — a total that could grow should the environment deteriorate further.

Time for some more creepy, stalker-esque fundraising emails, perhaps?